„The West should prepare a packet of economic and political help in case Aleksander Lukashenka steps down“ – said David Kramer, the president of Freedom House, an american NGO that conducts research and advocacy on democratic institutions worldwide, when testifying to House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Eastern Europe.
– Lukashenka is under growing domestic and international pressure because of his gross human rights abuses and responsibility for his country’s worst economic crisis since gaining independence 20 years ago. – said Kramer in the tesitmony – The hardships Belarusians are now experiencing are leading many of them to take to the streets in protest, despite risk of injury and imprisonment. This growing dissent and empowerment of the people around the country, not just in Minsk, reflects that Belarusians have decided to not be intimidated by fear any longer. – he continued.
Kramer also said also that „for the United States and Europe, the outcome in Belarus matters greatly. A brutal dictatorship on the doorstep of the EU is unacceptable and contrary to the decades-long vision of a Europe “whole, free, and at peace.”
The Freedom House president went on suggesting the need for a plan for post-Lukashenka Belarus: „Should Lukashenka attempt to extend his rule by selling the country’s valuable economic assets to Moscow, he would weaken Belarus’ independence and stability. That is why, while ratcheting up pressure against the regime, the West also needs to prepare a package of economic and political assistance should Lukashenka flee or be removed from power one way or another. Those around Lukashenka need to know that a brighter future lies ahead after Lukashenka is gone.“
„Unconditional release of all political prisoners, elimination of repressive security measures, support for independent media and civil society, respect for rule of law, and free and competitive elections are essential for Belarus to take its rightful position as a European nation-state“ – Kramer concluded with this words his testimony on Belarus.